Monday, February 11, 2013

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Lifts Her Like A Chalice
The weekday Mass at 6 a.m.
brings the old folks out 
from bungalows 
around the church.
They move like caterpillars  
down sidewalks, 
some with canes, 
some on walkers. 

Father Doyle says the Mass 
and then goes back to the rectory 
to care for his mother 
who cannot move or speak 
because of a stroke.

And every Sunday at noon 
when the church is full, 
Father Doyle, in full vestments, 
wheels his mother
in a lump
down the middle aisle
and lifts her like a chalice 
and places her in the front pew  
before he ascends to the altar.

Sometimes at night,
when his mother's asleep, 
Father Doyle comes back to the Church 
and rehearses in the dark 
three hymns she long ago 
asked him to sing at her funeral.

He practices the hymns 
because the doctor said  
she could go at any time.
When that time comes,
he doesn't want to miss a note.
The last thing she ever said was 
"Son, I'll be listening."

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